Feeling safer yet? You’re not.

The big news this weekend was the fact that the National Intelligence Estimate revealed what those of us in the “reality-based” community have known for years: Iraq has increased, not reduced the threat of terrorism.  In a nutshell:

The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent
Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists
around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United
States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts
have concluded.

A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate
completed in April cites the “centrality” of the U.S. invasion of Iraq,
and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for
new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more
than an anti-Western agenda. It concludes that, rather than
contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism
struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position
” (emphasis mine)

A few additional choice comments on the matter from Josh Marshall:

An NIE isn't some random government white paper. It represents the consensus judgment of the entire US intelligence community, with input from all the different agencies, from CIA and DIA to INR and FBI and all the others. In other words, this is the collaborative judgment of the people actually fighting the War on Terror.

For the last six weeks and, in fact, the last six months, the White
House and the president have been engaged in a coordinated campaign to
convince the public that despite the setbacks and mistakes, the war in
Iraq is a critical component of fighting the War on Terror. Making that
argument is their plan for the next six weeks until the election. All
the while, they've been sitting on a report that says that's flat
wrong, a lie and that precisely the opposite is the case.

That's a cover-up in every meaningful sense of the word, a
calculated effort to hide information from and deceive the public. And
it's actually a replay of what happened in late 2002, when the White
House kept the Iraq WMD NIE's doubts about Iraqi weapons programs away from the public.

The president has made very clear he wants the next six weeks to be
about Iraq and the War on Terror. By all means, let's do it. But first
the president has to come clean about what he's keeping hidden from the
public — the fact that the people he has fighting the War on Terror
are telling him that what he's telling the public about Iraq and the
War on Terror flat isn't true.

Just to be clear, the comprehensive view of the American intelligence community is that the war in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism.  George Bush can keep insisting otherwise, but he will keep being wrong (and keep lying). 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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